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Lunar Module (LM)

(glossary entry)


The part of the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the surface of the Moon (as opposed to the Command Service Module part, which remained in orbit).

Additional Information

  • Also known (by the manufacturer) as the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module).
  • The upper part of the LM was called Ascent Stage (AS), the lower part with the four legs was the Descent Stage (DS).
  • During the three scientific "J"-missions of Apollo 15, 16, and 17, there was a four-wheeled rover attached to the LM's Descent Stage (the Lunar Roving Vehicle, LRV).
  • During Apollo 14, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell had the two wheeled Modularized Equipment Transporter (MET).
  • The call-names of the Lunar Modules were: Apollo 9: Spider, Apollo 10: Snoopy, Apollo 11: Eagle, Apollo 12: Intrepid, Apollo 13: Aquarius, Apollo 14: Antares, Apollo 15: Falcon, Apollo 16: Orion, Apollo 17: Challenger.

Remarkable LM-photographs, paintings, curiosities, trivia

  • It's interesting to know that there are only TWO orbital Hasselblad photographs which show a complete LM (AS + DS) against the background of the lunar surface (see: Apollo 12's LM Intrepid over crater Halley, on AS12-51-7501 and AS12-51-7502). All other orbital Hasselblad photographs with complete LMs show the black space as background! And if it is seen against the background of the moon's surface, it will always be an Ascent Stage, or a CSM (Command Service Module). Research: Danny Caes
  • AS09-21-3183 and other photographs of a complete LM against the background of Earth are included in the magazines of Apollo 9 (which was the so-called "anticlimax"-mission, to test LM Spider in orbit around Earth).
  • AS09-21-3242 is the Ascent Stage of Apollo 9's LM Spider. Here we are looking at the underside of it. This sort of photographs (of an Ascent Stage's underside) were only made during the mission of Apollo 9. The underside of an LM's Descent Stage was never photographed.
  • ap13-S70-31774 is a painting of the to-be-performed lunar excursion of Apollo 13 (which never happened because of an explosion in the Service Module of CSM Odyssey). The painting shows Apollo 13's LM Aquarius and astronauts James Lovell and Fred Haise exploring the lunar surface.
  • AS14-66-9305 and AS14-66-9306 are the most extraordinary Hasselblad photographs ever made! Both photographs show Apollo 14's LM Antares and the sun which is partially obscured by the LM's upper part.
  • AS15-84-11324 is a 500 mm Hasselblad photograph of the distant LM Falcon at the plain between craters Dune (foreground) and Pluton (background). Note the sizes of the boulders in Pluton. Some of them are much larger than the LM.
  • Lunar Rover deployment on the moon, as seen in this Grumman painting (S71-38188).
  • Apollo 16's LM Orion and the UV-telescope in its shadow, with CDR John Young nearby, as seen in this painting.
  • AS11-40-5893 must be the most unknown and most "artistic" photograph of Apollo 11's LM Eagle on the moon. Note the glint of sunlight on the Descent Stage's gold foil.
  • AS16-115-18552 is one in a series of "TV-camera close-ups". This color photograph has both the LRV's gold-colored TV-camera and LM Orion in view. Looking north-northeast.
  • AS16-117-18799 is the last one of another three color-photographs of both LM Orion and the LRV's TV-camera. Note the ALSEP-station in the distance, near the right margin (below the horizontal white streak, which is South Ray crater). Looking south.
  • AS15-88-11930 was the last photograph of Apollo 15's LRV. This remarkable photograph was made by CDR David Scott at the end of the third EVA. It's the same photograph as the one in Plate 96 of the book FULL MOON by Michael Light and Andrew Chaikin.
  • A-258 shows an early (and very shiny metal-like) LM mockup.
  • S66-45461 shows an early white-painted LM mockup with round LEVA-hatch. This photograph was the inspiration for one of Norman Rockwell's paintings of the U.S.'s first manned lunar landing.
  • Apollo 17 - the end of an era is a pre-mission painting. A Grumman illustrator depicted astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt while they climb the ladder of LM Challenger, at the end of their third EVA. Apollo 17 (december 1972) was probably the last manned lunar excursion for decades.